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Apps Helping Seniors Stay Happy and Connected

March 27, 2018

If technology might once have seemed intimidating to certain seniors, that no longer needs to be the case. There are numerous apps for smartphones and tablets geared toward those in their Golden Years — apps that can inform and entertain, that can simplify seniors’ lives, instead of complicating them.

Here are the best of the lot; let us know which ones work best for you:


Life360: Wondering when your family might arrive for a visit? Worried as to whether they made it home OK? This app precludes the need for endless check-in texts or where-are-you phone calls, which can become so very worrisome if they go unacknowledged or unanswered.

Skype: Allows you to connect with friends and family members via text, voice or video, no matter where they are in the world. This app can be used on your smartphone, computer or television. The basic version, which allows you to speak, see an instant message others, is free. If you wish to call phones and send texts, that involves paying a fee.


AARP (free with membership): Provides the latest news, and alerts you to events in your area, whether it be a career workshop or movie showing. You can also search for senior benefits and discounts that are available near you.

BigNames ($1.99, for iPhone only): Makes it easier to scan the contact list in your phone by putting their information in large, high-contrast text. Available in landscape and portrait orientation, and supports English, French, German and Japanese.

EyeReader ($1.99, for iPhone only): Allows you to use your phone as a magnifying glass, helping you read small print in dark areas, like that which appears on restaurant menus and checks, prescription labels, credit-card vouchers and playbills. There is also a zoom capability, enabling you to hone in that much more.

Find My iPhone: This app enables you to locate your iPhone, iPad, IPod Touch or Mac, should any of those devices be lost or stolen. By using Lost Mode, you can lock your device from afar and provide a custom message and contact phone number on the lock screen.


Mint Bills & Money: Consolidates your finances in one online location, and summarizes what bills need to be paid, and when. This app allows you to set up reminders, schedule payments and send them off to their destinations quickly.

Senior Savings ($0.99): Discounts for seniors at over 200 places are listed here, in dining, entertainment, travel and lodging, groceries, services and shopping. AARP discounts are included, and each page neatly summarizes the restrictions and age requirements to ensure savings.


Audible: The foremost source of audiobooks, with over 180,000 titles available, this app provides access to a service that is free for the first 30 days, then charges $14.99 a month thereafter. Allows you to listen to your favorite books while doing chores, working out or lounging.

Kindle (for Android or Apple): Not to be confused with the device of the same name, this app makes millions of books available, some at no cost. Magazines and newspapers can also be accessed, and seniors can adjust the type size or screen brightness to suit their needs.

LibriVox (for Android or Apple): Provides access to over 24,000 free audiobooks in all genres, as well as thousands of old-time radio dramas. Another 75,000 audiobooks can be purchased by U.S. users.

Netflix (subscription required): A streaming service that allows you to watch your favorite movies or TV shows, commercial-free, any time you want. New customers can enjoy their first month free, then enroll in the basic plan (one screen, standard definition), the standard plan (two screens, high definition) or the premium plan (four screens, high definition). In the U.S., a DVD plan can be added to one of these three.

Pandora: Enables you to customize your listening experience by creating your own music channel, based on your preferences in songs, artists or genres. Pandora Plus ($4.99 a month) and Pandora Premium ($12.99 a month) offer higher-quality audio and no ads.

Spotify (for Android or Apple): Similar to Pandora, in that you can tailor a channel according to your tastes. Spotify Premium, which like Pandora’s upgrades does away with ads, can be purchased for $9.99 a month.

WordBrain: A game that allows you to exercise your mind by searching for hidden words, at the touch of a finger. Available in 15 languages, and challenging; WordBrain’s website promises that you will stall at some point.

Words with Friends: Touted on its website as the world’s most popular mobile word game, this app affords you the opportunity to square off against friends and family members in a Scrabble-like challenge whether they’re in the next chair or the next state.

Yesterday USA: More than 35 old-time radio shows are constantly replayed here. Classic radio stations are also available.


Clevermind (for iPad only): Quizzes, games and other activities to help those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and similar ailments, from an app whose producers who have wholeheartedly grasped research that shows the brain reacts favorably to new stimuli. Clevermind also offers entertainment options and social connections.

The Fabulous Motivate Me (pay for in-app programs): Developed at Duke University’s economics lab, this app bills itself as a way to “increase energy levels, enjoy vibrant health, lose weight and sleep better by instilling healthy habits and routines into your life.”

Good Rx: Allows you to compare prices of prescription drugs at 60,000 U.S. pharmacies. You can also find coupons that can be sent to you via text or email.

HeartWise Blood Pressure Tracker ($0.99 for iPhone, $2.99 for iPad): Allows you to import data like blood pressure, resting heart rate and weight from other apps, and then displays trends and statistics, such as mean arterial pressure and body mass index. Also enables you to set reminders of when it’s time to take a medication.

Instant Heart Rate: Your iPhone camera can be used to detect your pulse from your fingertip. Your heart rate is revealed in less than 10 seconds, and you can easily track trends.

iPharmacy Pill ID: Enables you to identify any of 12,000 pills or medication packages by color, shape or imprint. Also compares prices on over 6,000 drugs at every major U.S. pharmacy chain, and many local outlets.

Lumosity (for iPhone only): Provides over 40 brain games and activities, designed by neuroscientists to keep your mind sharp. Includes workout mode (different methods to train your brain) and detailed insights (analysis of game play). Mindfulness training also available for those who sign up for the premium version, which is available at a rate of $11.99 a month and $59.99 a year.

Moves Activity Diary: The phone-based equivalent of the Fitbit, in that it counts your steps, whether you’re walking, cycling or running. Enables you to view distance, duration, steps and calories burned.

Red Panic Button (for iPhone and IPad 3G): In the event of an emergency, push the red button and alerts will be sent to a designated list of email contacts, showing your location courtesy of GPS. Includes Twitter integration.

Web MD: Offers a directory of local physicians, hospitals and pharmacies, as well as a feature allowing you to identify pills by size, shape and color. Also has a symptom tracker, allowing you to learn about potential health issues according to what you might be experiencing.


Yahoo Weather: Allows you to see hourly, five- and 10-day forecasts. Tracks wind, air pressure and chance of precipitation. Includes interactive maps.

Categories: New Technologies